Words by Bindu Gopal Rao
Accor’s second Grand Mercure in Bengaluru located at Swamy Vivekananda Road, the sixth property from the brand in the city, is an expansive 212 key property where space is not compromised and the local connect is visible at all touch points.
Being my first staycation in nearly a year, I was slightly sceptical, but my fears were put to rest as I was picked up in a clean car and my luggage was sanitized at the entrance. As I entered the grand entrance of the property, I noticed not just the palatial façade but also the notes of Nadaswaram welcoming me. After a thermal screening, I was given a traditional welcome with an aarti and the special touch was a shower of rose petals that was the perfect way to start this staycation.
My first impression was the expansive lobby that stretches out endlessly, with elements of the iconic Hoysala architecture seen all over. The beige facade is accentuated with pops of purple, orange and red and the antiques and artefacts that have been carefully sourced add to the overall narrative.
With a strong sense of place, the local connect is unmissable at this upscale property that is located next to Gopalan Signature Mall. Hoysala was an inspiration as this was one of the periods when art and culture flourished, and the hotel seeks to pay homage to that ethos. The hotel interestingly has a signature fragrance of sandalwood and vetiver as well that ensures it gets the attention of your senses once you enter. An unmissable piece of art is the massive wood statue of a tiger-human, commonly associated with the Hoysala empire that is an antique sourced from an old temple. Also a beautiful larger than life figurine carved with a single onyx stone is an eye-catching exhibit here.
I headed to my fifth-floor suite that was expansive to say in the least. It came complete with a well-appointed living area, a kitchenette, powder room, spacious bedroom and large bath space, and there was a large private balcony as well. The rooms had two LCD televisions in the living and bedroom space, and the plush living space is done up aesthetically in hues of brown with pops of deep red and purple. The rooms are furnished with 49″ television sets, wireless charging docking station, a tea and coffee maker, mini bar and a multimedia hub. There are deluxe, executive and suite rooms and the presidential suite that is spread over 2,000 square feet is a celebration of luxury. A key highlight in the rooms are the specially commissioned black and white photographs of the monuments of Hampi.
The multi-cuisine all day dining restaurant, La Utsav is a celebration of food in its multi-sensorial way. In fact, there is a section of the menu dedicated to ‘lost recipes.’ This will showcase home-style recipes that are made in people’s homes. The buffet spread here is also extensive and there are open kitchens all around. The restaurant will start its full-scale buffet once the Covid-19 situation is under control and I sampled a buffet breakfast that had an excellent selection of Indian, Asian and Continental fare. There is also a clear focus on the flavours of the cuisine of Karnataka.
The other outlet that I highly recommend is the coffee bar at the lobby level. Aptly named 1026 AD, said to be the time signifying the beginning of Hoysala Empire, this is where you can sample some excellent coffees from local favourites to speciality coffees including Vietnamese, Turkish, Chemex and vacuum coffee. If you are not feeling experimental, there is filter coffee too with its distinctive addition of chicory, that is served in the dawra, a true south Indian way. All coffees are single origin sourced from the oldest organic estate in Yelligudige in Chikmagalur.
An important part of this hotel is the art gallery that showcases the works of Indian artists that focuses on Indian culture. When I was here, I saw a series of Kalighat, Pichwai and Mysore paintings that add their own charm to the space.
The hotel is high on banqueting and has three floors dedicated to the same. The second level is for corporates and has smaller board and meeting rooms. The third and fourth levels have larger halls that have designated large pre-function areas that are all done up in different themes. With massive chandeliers and state-of-the-art technology in place, these spaces are popular for weddings and other celebrations.
The fifth level has a terrace gym and spa and the hotel has a wellness culture that ensures you can also practice yoga as part of its morning yoga sessions. The in-house Tattva Spa has six treatment rooms and offers both modern and traditional therapies. I tried a rejuvenating Swedish massage that was on point. There is also an executive lounge designed as a library with a great selection of reads as well as the fifth central, the hotel’s entertainment zone, featuring interesting games including traditional board games and recreational activities like pool, table tennis and foosball.
Ensuring the highest standard of safety and hygiene, the hotel adheres to Accor’s ALLSAFE label which is a cleanliness label in association with Bureau Veritas. There are helpful signages that matter in today’s times, the lift buttons are sanitised regularly, there are sanitisers kept in most places as well as social distancing advisories all over the hotel.
Sachin Maheshwary, general manager of Grand Mercure Bengaluru, Gopalan Mall says: “The brand believes in bringing locally inspired stories to life and we are focused on giving guests a personalised experience whilst maintaining global standards of hygiene.” And the hotel is certainly poised to do all this and make its unique mark on the hospitality landscape of Bengaluru.
Address: Swami Vivekananda Rd, Rahat Bagh, Nagavarapalya, Bennigana Halli, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560093, India
Phone: +91 80 6843 0000
All images courtesy of Grand Mercure Bengaluru at Gopalan Mall.